Happy Birthday Henry Plantagenet

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader nearly forgot that today is the 876th birthday of Henry Plantagenet (aka: Henry II of England). Henry is one of those seminal figures in world civilization that we don’t think of much today because of his distance from us in history. We in the West, and particularly in the Anglo-American West owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Henry for his devotion to and building up of our legal traditions. It is the most lasting influence, of many, of Henry on us today.

Happy day Henry. Your Maxmium Leader raises his glass and toasts you today.

Carry on.

Random political ranting

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is pretty sure he is the only blogger out there who can boast (if you can call it a boast) that he has blogged in the third person for going on six years. It is tough sometimes, but he does it because you, dear minion, have come to expect it.

Having said this, he isn’t sure he can keep up the third person blogging today. If he slips in and out of character - well - it happens some times.

First, your Maximum Leader should say that he’s been pretty frustrated with everything going on in political Washington. He is less frustrated by the Democrats than Republicans. What does that mean exactly? Well… It means that the Democrats are behaving much like he thought they would. The Democrats behave as they do and because your Maximum Leader doesn’t agree with their general philosophy of governance their behavior is only mildly annoying. He should throw out there that his annoyance does not keep him from watching in horror as the Democrats wreck havoc on our nation.

If a pollster were to call your Maximum Leader and ask if the President and Congress are leading the country down “the wrong track” or “down the right track” your Maximum Leader would firmly say “wrong track.” He believes the “stimulus” (aka: spending) bill was a pork-laden crock of shit that isn’t going to have the salutary effect that the President has promised. The budget the President has just proposed is even worse than the spending bill just passed.

Your Maximum Leader was, for a little over a month apparently, deferential towards the new President. He wanted to see what President Obama did and how he approached the crisis he’s facing. Your Maximum Leader did this out a (perhaps old skool) notion of “fair play.” Your Maximum Leader felt it was only fair to give give the President a chance to live up to the rhetoric of his campaign. Your Maximum Leader will not go so far as to say that he expected much of the President, but he figured it was best to give the man who handily won the election a chance. You know, elections have consequences and one shouldn’t jump to conclusions. This isn’t to say that your Maximum Leader was in that crowd of (”cough”) conservatives like David Brooks or Christopher Buckley who thought that Obama was a different sort of fellow. (As your Maximum Leader’s friend and erstwhile contributor to this space, the Smallholder will attest. He can’t believe how many times he said on the phone to Smallholder “Just because Obama doesn’t sound like a run of the mill liberal in his book doesn’t mean he isn’t a run of the mill liberal. The book is nothing more than a campaign biography. How many of those have you believed in the past?) Your Maximum Leader was pretty clear that he believed Barack Obama to be a dyed in the wool liberal who was putting on a show with his rhetoric of hopey-changeyness. But, your Maximum Leader is a pretty fair minded guy and that influenced him to try and put aside his preconceptions and see what happened.

Well… The President has demonstrated that he isn’t capable of controlling his party in Congress. The President has demonstrated that neither he nor his “team of almost rivals - and tax evaders” have no judgement concerning beginning a massive new program to nationalize health care in the midst of a major financial crisis. In fact, a sensible person must reasonably charge the President with opportunism and deceptiveness by implying that nationalizing health care is a real step towards improving the national economy. It is a real step towards financial ruin and destruction of our health care system.

Your Maximum Leader grows very weary of the whole “we’ve had no responsibility in Washington for 8 years and it will take time for us to clean things up” line. It is the go-to line for the President, Speaker Pelosi and Senator Reid (and all their cronies). How much longer will that line hold up? Yes, the economic crisis started under George W. Bush. The contributing factors causing the crisis are many and have been brewing for longer than 8 years. Your Maximum Leader’s not sure that Bush’s approach to the crisis was effective or well conceived. That said, essentially we have more of the same from the current administration. Doesn’t more of the same undercut the effectiveness of the whole “we’re just dealing with what they left us?” They aren’t doing anything different - only doing more of the same. Where is the change? Where is the hope? (We certainly haven’t heard much about hope now have we? (It is all going to get much worse before it gets better. At least that is what we’ve been hearing out of the White House.)

Of course, your Maximum Leader can only get but so angry at President Obama. He’s convinced that the President is not driving policy. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are driving policy. That is dangerous and bad. It is a little early to seriously throw around the whole “they are turning America into a socialist nation” accusations; but Congressional leaders are showing ever sign that they are turning in that direction. There are serious threats to individual liberty and property in the offing. Your Maxmium Leader can’t remember a more serious swing in the proverbial political pendulum in just a few weeks. Pretty soon we might have to say that President Obama has accomplished more in 100 days than LBJ accomplished in his whole Presidency. Think about that for a second.

Long-time readers of this space know that your Maximum Leader is great believer in divided government and gridlock. Gridlock is the true genius of the American Republic. Our founders knew what they were doing when they split up the branches of government and created political friction at every turn. Although your Maximum Leader isn’t a big Jeffersonian, he does believe that gridlock is the only way we can live up to TJ’s aphorism that the “government that governs best governs least.” Without gridlock our government is hell-bent for leather to actually do something. Your Maximum Leader isn’t fond of our government actually doing something…

One hopes that the Republicans can grow a pair and make some gains in 2010…

Of course, the Republicans are in bad bad shape. Your Maximum Leader’s not sure that they are in post-Watergate shape (although perhaps they are). The party has been gutted by the disasterous Presidency of George W. Bush. Republicans stuck with W through thick and thin. The Republicans got a war in the Middle East. Your Maximum Leader agreed with the starting of that war (for different reasons than those articulated by Bush and his cronies). But the war went south when Bush (and his cronies) screwed the pooch on managing the war. Then the Bushies stuck with a bad war policy for way too long. Republicans also decided to completely forgo any semblance of fiscal responsibility they might have clung to from the by-gone Reagan years. Your Maximum Leader would say that the late Congressional Republican majority spent money like the cliched drunked sailors. Alas, to say that would both insult drunken sailors as well as leave us no reference point against which to compare the current Democratic Congress. It is almost as though money is magic and this spending is an imaginary exercise in whimsy that will have no real consequences.

But your Maximum Leader digresses…

So you have a Republican party that is thought of as a bunch of liars (due to their support of the war), spendthrifts (due to the prescription drug program and allowing earmarks to get out of control among other items), and religious fanatics (from constant press reports and Democratic attacks). That combination isn’t a good one.

Now you have this internicene warfare between people like Michael Steele (the RNC chairman) and Rush Limbaugh (a radio talk show host). This intra-party warfare has been inflamed by Democrats. (And frankly the Democrats should fan the flames as much as they can. In politics, as in UFC matches, when your opponent is down, you kick him.)

Your Maximum Leader isn’t a Rush listener. He listened to Rush regularly in the early ’90s. Back then your Maximum Leader spent more time in the car with the radio on. Your Maximum Leader does recall that he always enjoyed G. Gordon Liddy’s show on WJFK in DC more. There was more talk of guns and heavy-chested hotties on Liddy’s show. Your Maximum Leader stopped listening to Rush Limbaugh one afternoon when Limbaugh made some crack about Chelsea Clinton (then about 11/12 years old) being awkward and ugly. That crossed a line with your Maximum Leader and he didn’t listen to Rush again until about 6 months ago.

From time to time during midday your Maximum Leader finds himself in the Villainmobile and the channel often tuned to the local AM radio station. Rush’s show is on at midday and since radio pretty much sucks in this area he doesn’t change the channel. (Your Maximum Leader has all the stuff to outfit the Villainmobile with XM, but he’s never installed or activated the stuff. Had it all for three years now… How sad is that? Anyhooo…)

Your Maximum Leader heard Rush on the day that he declared (recently) that he wanted Obama to fail. In the context of what Rush was saying, it made sense. If you don’t like the President’s policy proposals and you hope that they do not get enacted then you hope he fails. That is some pretty straight-forward thinking. But people have been getting all in a huff over if.

Among the people getting in a huff about it is new RNC chairman Michael Steele. Steele then says Rush is an entertainer. Steele apologizes to Rush. Democrats paint Rush as the leader of the Republican party. Rush (running with the ball) challenges Obama to a debate about the issues. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah… Yadda… Yadda… Yadda…

You know something? If there was any Republican up there on Capitol Hill out there with “onions in the bag” who could articulate a cogent policy alternative to the President (and Speaker Pelosi and Senator Reid) then that person would be the de facto head of the Republican party.

Apparently no Congressional Republican has a pair and will step up. Not Mitch McConnell. Not Boehner. Not Cantor. So when you don’t have an elected Republican acting “leaderly” it devolves to whomever the Democrats and the press say is the leader of the party. Republicans aren’t in control of their destiny as long as the White House and Congressional Democrats are determining who is the “voice” of the Republican party.

Frankly, your Maximum Leader wishes there were some smart articulate conservatives out there in Congress to raise the level of debate out there. He has always thought that Rush Limbaugh (and Sean Hannity and Michael Levin) are the lowest common denominator of conservatives. Your Maximum Leader didn’t know how to put a fine point on it, but recently he thinks that he found someone else who did put a fine point on it. It was our old pal John Derbyshire who wrote that Rush and other talk show hosts are dumbing down conservatives.

Your Maximum Leader is a bit of an elitist (with probably very little reason to be). But he likes a little more intellectual discussion with his politics. He respects someone who has thought out an opinion and belief. He doesn’t want Rush Limbaugh to be the “voice of conservatism” in America. He much prefered William F. Buckley in that role (God bless him).

But until someone else gets some balls it is Rush as the voice of conservatives and leader of the opposition…

And while the Republicans are backstabbing each other and sniping at who is in charge of what, the Obama/Pelosi/Reid triad will do all they can to reshape America according to their vision.

If that isn’t enough to scare someone into growing balls I’m not sure what is.

Carry on.

The Republic’s Requiem

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader doesn’t read Pajiba for its biting and insightful political commentary. No. He reads Pajiba because he likes to keep up with movies, movie reviews, commentary on current goings-on in Hollywood and such stuff. Yes. Your Maximum Leader reads Pajiba to keep socially current.

Well imagine his shock when he reads biting and insightful political commentary on Pajiba. Well… Biting and insightful political commentary in the guise of a review of the (late and oft-lamented-in-the-Villainschloss) HBO series Rome

If you haven’t read Requiem for the Republic: Rome by Jove you need to click through and read it RIGHT NOW! Here are the first few paragraphs:

“This can only mean that the Republic has fallen.” -Lucius Vorenus
“And yet, the sky is still above us and the earth still below. Strange.” - Titus Pullo

This is a story of how democracy dies.

Rome is the mother of nations. The legend lurking at the dawn of history. The altar at which our laws and governments still worship. Every courthouse and capital echoes the ruins of that ancient city we still haunt. Legalese is still half Latin a millennium since the last native speakers died. Our senators and theirs would hardly notice the difference between each other, besides the togas and Italian suits.

Rome was a young state in an old world. Just old enough to feel confident and experienced, young enough to think it would last forever. For two thousand years, Egyptian slaves had built desert mountains for god kings. Italy was such a backwater for so long that Alexander overran the world from Greece to India, but didn’t bother hopping the Adriatic. Less than three centuries later, Caesar thought he was special. Ozymandias and all that. Empires always believe they’re eternal because men never believe they’re mortal.

They conquered through ingenuity, through a granite faith that their law was the only law. Anything outside of Roman law was barbarian. Order was their one true god, immortalized in all the identical temples and standardized roads. Rational repetition fueled the legions: men trained to fight as a single machine, gears and clockwork carved from flesh, individuality burned off in the smelter. They tamed ancient Egypt, yoked Spain and France, pillaged Greece for fertile minds. They destroyed Carthage so utterly that atomic weapons could not have improved on the job. Who now remembers the American Indians?

They were the first combination of that most potent meme of state: the imperial republic. They always insist that they rule by force for the good of the people. “For the republic!” Say it enough and you believe your own press. They were the embodiment of that ancient dichotomy of war and peace. Pax Romana. Pax Britannica. Pax Americana. It’s lightning in a bottle, catching the fever for empire along with the spasmodic beauty of freedom. An unstable equilibrium cannot last: either the empire exhausts itself or it devours its own children. The British did the former, the Romans the latter, America’s decision is pending. Rome is the story of that devouring.

Damn it is good stuff. Go and read for the love of the Gods!

Also, if you haven’t seen Rome you need to put it in your Netflix queue or buy it. You’ll not be sorry…

(Okay… If you are a stickler for a “historical drama” being more “historical” than “drama” you might be disappointed. If you can put that behind you, you will love it.)

Carry on.

Remember Igor Panarin!

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader will do his best to remember Igor Panarin. Who the hell is Igor Panarin? Igor Panarin is apparently a Americanologist in Russia. (During the Cold War we had “Sovietologists” on our side. What would you call their Commie counterparts in the USSR? Your Maximum Leader supposes you call them Americanologists…) Mr. (Dr.? Comrade?) Panarin has predicted the collapse of the United States… Next year.

According to the AP piece, Panarin:

…said the recent economic turmoil in the U.S. and other “social and cultural phenomena” led him to nail down a specific timeframe for “The End” — when the United States will break up into six autonomous regions and Alaska will revert to Russian control.

Panarin argued that Americans are in moral decline, saying their great psychological stress is evident from school shootings, the size of the prison population and the number of gay men.

Turning to economic woes, he cited the slide in major stock indexes, the decline in U.S. gross domestic product and Washington’s bailout of banking giant Citigroup as evidence that American dominance of global markets has collapsed.

“I was there recently and things are far from good,” he said. “What’s happened is the collapse of the American dream.”

Panarin insisted he didn’t wish for a U.S. collapse, but he predicted Russia and China would emerge from the economic turmoil stronger and said the two nations should work together, even to create a new currency to replace the U.S. dollar.

Just in case you don’t clicky the linky, Panarin stated that President Obama will declare martial law as the situation gets worse… Then after the martial law the US will break up into the six autonomous regions…

You know something… Your Maximum Leader wouldn’t count out anything at this point… Although, if the President declared martial law your Maximum Leader might just have to run to the hills. In the words of Patrick Swayze and Robert Stacy McCain: WOLVERINES!

Carry on.

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